Can Satellite TV Save a Senate Campaign?

The satellite industry is about to make campaign consultants’ dreams come true — for a fee.

Gov. Rick Snyder's "One Tough Nerd" ad helped propel him into office in 2010. This year, Michiganders might see dozens of different versions of a statewide ad, all targeted specifically to them.
National Journal
Alex Brown
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Alex Brown
Jan. 27, 2014, 7:25 a.m.

Your tele­vi­sion is talk­ing to you — or at least it will be soon.

Dir­ecTV and Dish Net­work are team­ing up to of­fer something called “ad­dress­able ad­vert­ising,” or part­ner­ship. The idea be­hind the part­ner­ship is to al­low politi­cians to get ex­tremely spe­cif­ic as they tar­get their mes­saging.

Live in a re­tire­ment com­munity? You’ll prob­ably be see­ing lots of ads about So­cial Se­cur­ity. Do a lot of driv­ing? You’ll be hear­ing about gas prices. Wor­ried the loc­al fact­ory might close? Now you you’ll get to see your state’s Sen­ate hope­fuls try to outdo one an­oth­er with pledges to save it.

This kind of tar­geted ad­vert­ising isn’t new. All­state has used it to show one set of in­sur­ance ads to renters while homeown­ers see an­oth­er. But now satel­lite pro­viders are try­ing to use it to cash in on the big-money en­ter­prise of statewide polit­ic­al cam­paigns.

Ad­dress­able ad­vert­ising, said Dir­ecTV’s Keith Kazer­man, “util­izes highly soph­ist­ic­ated and tar­geted tech­no­logy that will al­low polit­ic­al cam­paigns to spe­cific­ally reach swing voters with TV ads. Cam­paigns can fo­cus their mes­sage to a pre­cise set of po­ten­tial voters and elim­in­ate the spend­ing waste.”

The pro­viders will be of­fer­ing the ser­vice for statewide cam­paigns. And while the part­ner­ship — which will start out with about five shared staffers in Wash­ing­ton and will be­gin selling ads in a couple weeks — has the satel­lite com­pan­ies see­ing green, it no doubt has cam­paign man­agers drool­ing as well.

Rather than dis­cuss­ing a broad plat­form on edu­ca­tion, your state’s gubernat­ori­al hope­ful can talk about his plan for your area’s strug­gling school dis­trict. Mean­while, the next town over, voters are hear­ing a plan to bol­ster a key loc­al in­dustry. So don’t be sur­prised if the ads for gov­ernor and sen­at­or start sound­ing a lot like the ads for your state rep­res­ent­at­ive. All polit­ics is loc­al, right?

What We're Following See More »
NRA Chief: Leftist Protesters Are Paid
1 days ago
Trump Still on Campaign Rhetoric
1 days ago
Trump Rails On Obamacare
1 days ago

After spending a few minutes re-litigating the Democratic primary, Donald Trump turned his focus to Obamacare. “I inherited a mess, believe me. We also inherited a failed healthcare law that threatens our medical system with absolute and total catastrophe” he said. “I’ve been watching and nobody says it, but Obamacare doesn’t work.” He finished, "so we're going to repeal and replace Obamacare."

Trump Goes After The Media
1 days ago

Donald Trump lobbed his first attack at the “dishonest media” about a minute into his speech, saying that the media would not appropriately cover the standing ovation that he received. “We are fighting the fake news,” he said, before doubling down on his previous claim that the press is “the enemy of the people." However, he made a distinction, saying that he doesn't think all media is the enemy, just the "fake news."

Report: Trump Asked FBI to Deny Russia Stories
1 days ago

"The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN. But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate."


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.